Moishe House Provides Community to Clevelanders

Tags: Federation, Young Adults

  • Share This Story

Victoria Cohen, Suzanne Berman and Ari Schrear, the three new residents of Moishe House Cleveland. Submitted photo


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

As the new residents of Moishe House Cleveland host several events each month, they aim to provide space for young Jewish adults in Cleveland looking for community.

Victoria Cohen, Suzanne Berman and Ari Schraer have served as residents of Moishe House Cleveland in downtown Cleveland since September as they have planned events and outings for an underserved age group. Moishe House Cleveland is supported by the David and Inez Myers Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

“Part of our responsibility is to cultivate a welcoming Jewish space for those who, maybe they do have one (a community), but they’re looking for additional friends, or maybe they just want to come to a yoga class or a Shabbat dinner,” Cohen, 25, told the Cleveland Jewish News. “It’s really to create an open space for anyone in their 20s and 30s to come and be a part of a Jewish community.”

While there are youth groups for children and teens wanting to be Jewishly involved, and some adults with families become involved with their synagogue, Moishe House aims to serve those in between looking for involvement, the residents explained.

Cohen and Berman, both native Clevelanders, met through their involvement with Hillel at Kent State University and became best friends. They were hosting Shabbat Clusters through The Bridge, a program at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike, and OneTable when they were approached about becoming residents of Moishe House.

Schraer, 32, was a resident at Moishe House San Diego in 2018, and joined Moishe House Cleveland upon moving to Cleveland in September. He is a co-founder of Oat Haus and moved to Cleveland as the food start-up moved its manufacturing space to the area.

“I think that the three of us are a really great team because we each have different kind of skills and strong points, and I think we’re a really balanced team,” said Berman, 25. “We all had a lot of different experiences coming in, so I think it just works really well.”

While they all chip in with planning, outreach, hosting and meals, Schraer is the professional chef, Cohen is the “marketing expert” and Berman brings her hosting and engagement skills from her involvement with Chabad in college, they said.

The first event the residents hosted was a “Booze & Schmooze” at Masthead Brewing Co. in Cleveland for the Moishe House community to meet the new residents. They’ve hosted holiday and seasonal events, Shabbat experiences, service opportunities and outings to comedy shows, trivia nights and more.

“I just think about what would be fun or what would be something that people don’t usually do that can bring people together, whether that is a pizza night or I’m teaching people how to make dill pickles at the end of the month or going on hikes throughout the (Cleveland) Metroparks,” Schraer said. “I think just playing to what I think is interesting or what I think people would be interested in. Also, we have a private WhatsApp group with our community where if I’m drawing a blank, I’ll ask them, ‘Hey, what are you guys interested in?’”

Moishe House Cleveland shares it’s monthly calendar of events on its Instagram page, @mohocle, and shares updates in its WhatsApp group chat. To be added to the group chat, send a direct message to the Instagram page.

Cohen said she has seen many friendships bloom at the events they have held.

“It’s not just a house or a place. ... We really are a community and we put a lot of time and thoughtful effort into planning different programs and events where everyone can find their place no matter how they identify with their Judaism,” Cohen said. “We’re open to anyone and everyone. We all have shared roots, but really our mission is about creating that community space where everyone feels welcome.”

Learn More: Federation, Young Adults